There’s a reason Toriyasu has been in business for over 50 years: their oyako-don (chicken and egg rice bowl) is quick, affordable and consistently delicious.
A delicious bowl of oyako-don. – image © Florentyna Leow
All my friends know how indecisive I am. Whether it’s life choices, which movie to watch, or something as simple as what to eat for lunch, it takes me forever to make a decision. Coffee, chai or tea? Iced or hot? Fish and chips, or steak? Green tea ice cream or chocolate pudding? What am I missing out on if I order one dish over another? All this overanalyzing can be very tiring, and sometimes it’s easiest to keep things simple. This is why I love specialist restaurants like Toriyasu, where I don’t have to think too hard about what to eat.
Toriyasu’s tiny restaurant space has some charming wall decorations. – image © Florentyna Leow
Toriyasu is a tiny restaurant in central Kyoto famous for its oyako donburi. ‘Oyako’ means ‘parent and child,’ and ‘donburi’ means rice bowl with toppings. Oyako donburi (or oyako-don), is a rice bowl topped with chicken and egg. Oyako-don is a classic Japanese dish that you may have see in other restaurants, and indeed, you could make it yourself. However, Toriyasu has been serving oyako-don to eager customers in Kyoto for the last 50 years and they have mastered the art of producing this simple and filling dish.
A queue of salarymen outside Toriyasu on a hot day. – image © Florentyna Leow
Toriyasu is conveniently located opposite the Kyoto International Manga Museum, and as a bonus, it’s also within walking distance of the Imperial Palace grounds. It’s a tiny place which seats a maximum of 12 people, and it’s popular with office workers in the vicinity (as you can see from the photo), so expect a queue during lunch hours. However, turnover is pretty quick, and we only waited for around 15 minutes before being ushered inside.
Everyone’s dining together at close quarters. – image © Florentyna Leow
It was a hot May day when I last visited Toriyasu, but luckily it’s air conditioned inside – it would have been unbearably warm otherwise. It’s a small operation, and the staff don’t seem to speak much English. But a limited menu makes ordering very easy. The lunchtime menu has only 4 items:
1. Oyako-don (chicken and egg rice bowl, JPY880)
2. Karaage-don (deep-fried chicken rice bowl JPY880)
3. Tamago-don (egg rice bowl, JPY780)
4. Toriyasu teishoku (Toriyasu’s lunch set, JPY1450)
A kitchen space that’s even tinier than the restaurant space. – image © Florentyna Leow
You’re really here for one of the first three rice bowls, which are variations on the same theme. The oyako-don contains simmered chicken pieces, while the karaage-don has boneless fried chicken pieces instead. Both rice bowls are covered in softly-set egg simmered in soup stock. Those who might be feeling like a lighter lunch can order the tamago-don, which omits the chicken. Vegetarians who eat eggs should take not that the egg is cooked with a fish-based dashi stock.
Loosely-set, saucy eggs on white rice – pure comfort. – image © Florentyna Leow
I ordered the karaage-don. The fried chicken pieces were decent, but it was the simmered egg on top that made the dish sing. They simmer beaten egg in dashi stock, just gently and softly enough to loosely set the curds, before tipping it all on top of a bowl of hot white rice. This is a more difficult process than you’d think: from experience, it’s all too easy to overcook your eggs and scramble them, but at Toriyasu the eggs are perfectly done. The egg topping is gently sweet and savory, and texturally, it is pure comfort. It’s the kind of food you want to eat when you’re sick at home with the flu.
Akadashi red miso soup and yellow daikon pickles on the side. – image © Florentyna Leow
All rice bowls come with akadashi (red miso soup) and yellow daikon pickles on the side for additional bursts of saltiness – all the better for helping you get through the generous portions of rice. You can also sprinkle additional sansho pepper (available in a container on the table) onto your rice bowl.
Toriyasu’s oyako-don is a great way to sample this classic bit of Japanese comfort food. Clocking in at JPY880 for a hearty rice bowl, it’s perfect for the budget traveller looking for a tasty but filling lunch in Kyoto.
Important to note is that children under the age of 15 are not allowed in at Toriyasu, so dining here is unfortunately not an option for families traveling with younger children. Everyone else, however, should give this a try!
Name in Japanese
Karasuma-dori Oshikoji-kado, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
11:30-13:40 (last order), 17:00-19:30 (last order), Closed Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Non-smoking from 11:30~14:00
Karasuma-Oike Station (Karasuma Subway)
Read customer reviews of Toriyasu on TripAdvisor
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